by Richard Boness, Miss Saigon’s Assistant Commissar
Miss Saigon, another great creation from the minds of Schonberg and Boublil, is set to grace the stage at the McPherson playhouse, courtesy of the dedicated musical theatre group at St. Michaels University School. It is set in war-time Vietnam just at the end of the American involvement and opens with a night club scene full of rowdy marines (myself included) just a few days before the fall of Saigon, when all the marines are looking to live large as long as they can.
At this point, we are introduced to Kim, played by the very welcome newcomer Veronica Li, where she is being forced into prostitution by the local hustler, a French-Vietnamese bigshot known as “the Engineer,” played by the one and only Tom “DJ Legit” Zheng, who dreams big of moving to America. The Engineer tells his best girl, Gigi, played by none other than the ever-surprising Kaeleigh Fletcher, to show Kim the ropes. One of the marines at the bar, a high-flying, straight-shooting American officer, named John (embodied by Leo Marchand) aims to get a gift for his best buddy Chris (played by the amazing Brian Christensen), a washed up, ex-stoner sergeant who is starting to see the terrible wake left by him and the rest of his marines. John ends up purchasing The Engineer’s “little princess” Kim for his friend, which sets in a motion both love and danger.
This play surrounds the lives of several normal people, corrupted by betrayal and ignorance, and illustrates some of the painful experiences many Americans and Vietnamese people had during the war. This play focuses on a love story between one young Vietnamese girl and an American GI that penetrates the darkness of war and the veil of manipulation and captures the undocumented side of the Vietnam war, which was not deemed fit for television news at the time. This production isn’t lighthearted and cheery, but passionate and full of emotion: a must-see for any theatre enthusiast, office worker, bus driver, fisherman or CEO; anyone who enjoys an excellent love story or anyone who’s a fan of good music. Schonberg and Boublil outdid themselves with Miss Saigon. We aim to honour their names.
Come out and enjoy Miss Saigon — you will not be disappointed.
March 3-6, 2010